The problem with Lent beginning on the first Wednesday of the month is that even if you mark the date on the calendar way ahead of time, if you don’t look at the March page until the first, the date can still catch you off guard.
Which is how I ended up at buying seeds and white candles at Wal-Mart at 8 PM on Fat Tuesday. We did get our initial decorating done on Wednesday, but I’ve still been working out the details of my Lenten plans in the days since.
But it’s like Jesus said, The Liturgical Calendar was made for man, not man for the Liturgical Calendar, or at least it went something like that. I’ve taken that to heart this year.
On to the pretty stuff. If you have a memory like an elephant (or if you browse through my old Lent posts), you’ll be able to appreciate how simplified these decorations are compared to previous years’. I’m just in a place this year where I need things to be as un-fussy as possible. Onward.
I had to make a new wreath this year because the burlap on my old one had been bleached by the sun in weird patterns. This year I went with a simpler shape, nice and tight and round instead of big and bunchy. It feels much more calm and relaxing to me, somehow. Also the process of making it was relaxing: I bought a foam wreath form that had kind of sharp edges. So I first wrapped the wreath with strips of felt to make it fat and rounded, and then I covered the felt with some burlap strips. Then came the bow, voila, and this was finished in about 30 minutes.
In a perfect world I would have used purple satin ribbon to keep with the official color scheme of Lent, but all I had was this black stuff, so I went with it. Because do you know what I like better than a project that is perfect? A project that is finished.
Here are the candles, all lit for this first week.
And, of course, the pots. To recap: Two years ago we planted beans, which grew so well they took over the table and became an eyesore. Last year we tried to grow rye grass, and it was a complete failure. We got a few little measly sprouts and then they all withered.
This year we planted marigolds. In an attempt to de-clutter the centerpiece, we have only two pots on the table: one for the parents and one for the kids. We planted a mix of colors, so the orange ones that grow are for the girls and the yellow ones that grow are for the boys. I’m hoping the girls’ flowers win!
(Because nothing says Lenten contrition like a little lively competition.)
Like I said, I’m still working out exactly what kinds of disciplines I’m going to practice this Lent. But one thing I have decided on is to limit my reading to spiritual topics until Easter. I’ll share the best nuggets in commonplaces, of course.
I just remembered today (Friday) that I had made a Lent playlist last year. It’s back on my phone now and all ready to go! These are all the cross-themed hymns that I could find in our music library. Maybe this year I’ll add some more?
In addition to all my old favorite resources, I’ve been inspired by these two posts from Like Mother, Like Daughter:
A Suggestion for Lent — There are actually two here: Don’t take your phone to bed with you and Get good at your most dreaded chore.
Lenten Preparations — Why it’s okay not to have 40 days of awesome activities lined up for your kids this year.
…and this one from Team Whitaker:
Make Lent 40 Days of Awesome — It’s not as hard as you think, and it does not in any way contradict the freeing advice from the previous article.